Disclaimer: All the characters, places, objects in this fanfic belong to JK Rowling. I'm just borrowing them for a while.
Ron scratched his chin as he thought about his next move while lounging next to the large coal grate that was normally the Gryffindor fire. He never rushed a move; both Bill and Percy had taught him the secret to chess success was in its patience and careful consideration. After a few minutes contemplation, he told his knight to move, smashing one of Harry's chess pieces.
The Gryffindor common room was quiet, providing perfect chess conditions as opposed to the normal loud lively atmosphere that filled the room. Ron guessed that was helped by the fact that there were lessons currently going on and that both the OWL and NEWT exams were just around the corner, leaving the common room nearly empty. In fact, apart from himself, Harry and Hermione, there was only Neville in one corner tending to his Mimbulus Mimbletonia and a pair of seventh year girls huddled over a table barely even muttering to each other was they scribbled on a piece of parchment.
Ron focused his attention back on the chess board and his best friend, refusing to let himself get distracted. This was clearly not the case with Harry, and Ron had to admit to himself that he was surprised, given the nature of the match so far, that Harry had even agreed to play.
Harry moved his piece exceptionally quickly, before even the shattered black pieces of his bishop had been moved off the board, leaving his other bishop directly in line for Ron's castle to take. As Ron studied the board, he realised something was becoming very clear.
Ron considered a number of factors before telling his castle where to move.
Looking at the board and most of Harry's smashed pieces he estimated that he just needed another three moves to place Harry's queen in check. Ron looked up from the chess board and saw Harry eyes directed towards the entrance to the common room.
Unusually for one of their free periods, Hermione had not pushed the need for studying and with no essays or exam pressing, they had spent the last hour just relaxing. Ron had briefly wondered if something was wrong with her but decided not to press the issue for fear of her temper snapping. Hermione sat in one of the large armchairs, reading a book on dark magic, no doubt looking for more information on the fruitless search for more knowledge on Horcruxes, while he had spent the last hour challenging a very disinterested Harry to a game of chess. He was pretty sure what Harry had his mind on and it wasn't chess; he was positive that his best friend was now thinking about his little sister.
Since Harry had kissed his sister--in front of the entire house no less, they had spent every free hour they had together. Luckily for him though there weren't too many of those free hours, especially with Ginny showing a dedication to her OWL revision that he couldn't but help but admire leaving those few revision free hours in a day in which Ron had been made an unwilling witness to his little sister in a series of tight embraces with his best mate.
Not that he objected too much.
Granted, with that kiss in front of the whole of Gryffindor he wasn't given too much of a chance to object, and he knew only too well how skilled both Harry and Ginny were with their wands and that they shared a stubborn streak. He was not stupid enough to try and stop them then, not without any form of backup and that was still at The Burrow. He was sure that the outcome of any interruption would have made Hermione's canaries look like a pleasant walk through a petting zoo. However, thoughts of feeding Harry to a mixture of blast-ended-skrewts, dragons and gigantic spiders had crossed his mind more than once.
Harry's face lit up as he saw the portrait of the Fat Lady swing open.
How could he raise objections when his best friend looked happier than he had ever seen him?
What kind of a friend would he be if he wanted to squash that happiness especially after everything Harry had already been through and done for his family?
A knot of fifth years entered the room laughing and joking. How had his little sister become so popular with almost everyone she met? Ginny was in the very centre of all of her friends but said hurried goodbyes as she spotted Harry's wave at her. It was very clear who Ginny wanted to spend all her free time with and, from the look in Harry's eyes and his even worse than normally pitiful attempts at chess playing, that he felt the same way.
As Ginny made her way closer, Ron watched as she moved her hand to her long red hair and pulled out the ponytail she normally wore in lesson times. She knew as much as the rest of them how much Harry loved her hair. As her vibrant red hair fell down her back, Ginny attacked her tie, loosening it and undoing several buttons on her shirt creating a v-shaped neckline and giving a hint of cleavage.
Ron was finding it very hard now to hide his laugher. Ginny, who rarely cared what she looked like, was trying to make an impression on Harry, yet he could clearly see a smudge of soil across her left cheek which should have ruined the affect that she was trying for.
"Hi," she said softly as she slipped next to Harry, placing a bulging school bag on a chair behind them.
Ginny was smiling deviously, a smile that Ron had seen so many times before usually when she huddled in a corner with Fred and George at The Burrow. That smile never had resulted in anything good for him, especially if she followed it with her sweet innocent, butter-wouldn't-melt-in-my mouth look and he would rather not know why she was smiling like that now. Ginny with Fred and George was always a dangerous combination but that smile with Harry could be lethal and was not something that an older brother wanted to even think about.
Despite the fact that his little sister had smiled at both Dean and Michael, that sweet smile was so different from the look she was giving Harry. Ginny only had eyes for Harry at the moment and Ron could never remember her looking like this. When she had dated other boys in the past he had been able to successfully ignore the fact unless it had been thrust in his face like that kiss with Dean had been.
He guessed that it was because deep down he knew those relationships had no real substance and wouldn't last. Just like Lavender wasn't right for him, Michael and Dean weren't right for Ginny; they were just part of the growing up process and, by Merlin, Ginny had grown up. Looking back at things now it was easy to tell that it had always been Harry who had been right for Ginny and that fact was shining through right now. There was something different about her now, it was almost like she was glowing.
"Hi," Harry smiled back at her, as he slipped his hand around her waist, "how was Herbology?"
"How did you know…" Ginny started, she was clearly looking deep into his eyes.
That was one thing Ron could admire about the pair of them. In just the limited few weeks that Harry and Ginny had been together, the number of times that they had looked straight into each others eyes had been countless. Both Harry and Ginny seemed so unafraid of what they faced together, never failing to make eye contact and he knew from his time spent with Lavender just how hard that honesty could be. Although their relationship probably involved a lust he didn't want to think about, all the clues were there that it also contained so much more.
"You have mud on your face," Harry used his thumb to brush it away; his thumb lingering on her cheek and even finding its way onto her lips, before he dropped his hand.
"Thanks," Ginny muttered as her smile grew and she leaned in even closer, finally kissing Harry.
It was just a small kiss which Harry chose not to deepen for which Ron was grateful. He didn't like seeing his sister enjoying even the smallest of kisses and didn't even want to think about what happened when both Harry and Ginny disappeared for hours on end on a Sunday. When Harry led Ginny out of the common room, he would have preferred his mind to be subjected to a Memory Charm rather than to know what went on by that lake. Ron had a feeling if he knew what the pair of them got up to together he would be sick and Harry would end up with a couple of black eyes and a bloody nose.
Ron made a gagging noise that he was only partly putting on, trying to get them to look up and break the kiss. As Harry and Ginny broke apart, he noticed Hermione looking up from over her book and glaring at him, and he was sure she had just mouthed the word 'hypocrite' towards him. He was forced to admit deep down that Hermione had a very good point but he didn't care. He had been successful with the loud noises and the kiss between Harry and Ginny had been cut short; he wouldn't have to watch it any longer.
There was only so much that a brother should be forced to endure even he was very slowly getting used to watching them kiss. He didn't like seeing it, it was unnatural for any big brother to like watching someone kissing his sister but he was starting to be able to tolerate it. After all, his sister and best friend kissing was now a daily occurrence.
"Oh shut up, Ronnie," Ginny scoffed, mischief in her voice, as Ron glared at her, his temper rising slightly at her tone and her attempts to tease him. "If you're that unhappy you should snog someone else."
"Oh shut it," Ron grumbled.
Ginny smiled sweetly at her brother before she turned her attention to Hermione. "Any chance you can give my Muggle Studies essay a read through? It's finished but I could use pointers on the conclusion."
Harry glared at Ron with a stare that was really quite irritating, seemingly of the opinion that Ron was the reason Ginny had now turned her attention to Hermione. Ron offered his friend a half-hearted shrug, making it painfully obvious that he wasn't too upset that the pair of them had now stopped kissing. Harry's expression changed and he was now pouting.
It was actually now becoming highly amusing to watch his friend. Harry obviously wanted Ginny to pay more attention to him than to Hermione.
Ron had rarely seen Harry look like this before but on those rare occasions that a similar pout had crossed Harry's lips, it had usually been over losing a Quidditch match. In fact he had never seen Harry sulk over a girl like this before for simply not getting enough attention from her. Reality dawned on Ron now, if he hadn't known this somewhere deep down already. Harry, in truth, hadn't really cared that much when Cho Chang had ignored him, but with Ginny it was different. Harry wanted Ginny's attention every second that they were together and that was not just since that kiss; Harry had been trying to get Ginny's attention all year. Looking back on it now, it was easy to see the reason why Harry had been hanging back after Quidditch practices; he had wanted to spend time with Ginny.
They were clearly hooked on each other.
Harry slipped his hand round Ginny's slender waist in hope of pinning her down. There may be another kiss in the cards if Ron didn't act quickly to stop it. Harry clearly had eyes only for Ginny at the moment which may mean that he would need to start the gagging noise that would earn Ginny's scorn and the wide ranging variety of her highly colourful use of language, any minute.
Hermione looked up from her book, her curiosity piqued. She could never resist the urge to get involved in anything academic. "What's it on?"
"Muggle forms of communication." Ginny moved Harry's arm from her waist as she spoke, trying to avoid any forms of distraction.
There was a slight frown on Hermione's face and her lips were pursed as she asked her next question. "And when's it due?"
"They shouldn't still be giving you homework," Harry sulked, his tone very babyish and petulant, no doubt unhappy that yet more time was being taken away by school work. "Not when the OWLs are so soon and you're spending every spare moment in the library."
"I agree," Ginny smiled at her boyfriend and Harry's face lit up at regaining her attention, "but you try explaining that to Professor Burbage. I've got enough going on with all this bloody OWL revision." Ginny turned her attention back to Hermione and the smile on Harry's face disappeared almost as fast as it had come; he clearly wanted Ginny's attention back again. "Next Thursday."
Hermione smiled the soft smile that looked so perfect as it graced her lips.
There was something very different about Hermione's aura when she smiled; it was so appealing, making Ron want to spend more time by her side. That smile was as drawing to him as the energy and passion that kept Harry and Ginny so tightly connected to each other.
Hermione was no doubt grateful she still had nine days to look over an essay instead of the matter of hours that she normally had to look over an essay when either Ron or Harry had tried to get her to help them with their homework. "What are you struggling with?"
Harry was clearly not to be deterred; he had that look in his eyes that Ron had seen so many times before. Harry often had this look in his eyes before he pulled out the Invisibility Cloak and the Marauder's Map. He clearly had something on his mind but Ron doubted that it had anything to do with sneaking out of the common room, especially when everything he desired was right here.
Before Ginny had a chance to reply to the older girl, Harry had acted swiftly by pulling Ginny's wand out of her pocket and tackling her at the waist, throwing her to the floor. It was always wise to get Ginny's wand out of arm's reach before engaging in possible underhanded tactics, as he knew only too well. Being subjected to the Bat-Bogey Hex just the once was enough to learn that lesson.
Ginny's shrieks of uncontrollable laughter filled the air as she tried to swat Harry's hands off her. It was a well known fact within the Weasley family that Ginny was exceptionally ticklish, something that Harry had been made aware of when Fred had jinxed her with a Tickling Charm after she had lost a bet at Christmas.
Ron's little sister was now squirming on the floor, knocking over the chess players left standing and removing any doubt that the game was over. Instead of bemoaning his lack of a win, Ron chose to watch Harry and Ginny. This was much easier to witness than a kiss. He had seen Ginny suffering from tickling attacks many, many times. This was more like brotherly affection than the actions of a boyfriend and girlfriend.
As Ginny's laughter filled the whole room Ron watched her more closely. He frowned slightly as there seemed to be something wrong with both Harry's and Ginny's movements. This was not the same as the tickling charms that were used so often on Ginny at The Burrow; the actions were far from brotherly and now he wasn't too sure that this was easier to endure than the kiss as both their laughter echoed round the common room. Finally, Ginny grasped her wand and Harry backed off.
"I... was," Ginny panted, choosing not to raise her wand as she would have done if anyone else had subjected her to the same treatment, "trying to work."
"But, I can help you with Muggle Studies," Harry offered, looking warily at where she was holding her wand. "I was brought up with Muggles."
"I know, but..." she paused, a twinkle in her eyes growing as that devious look returned, "Harry, you can help me with many things," Ginny winked as she pulled herself into a sitting position, "but I think I'll stick to Hermione for asking OWL advice."
Hermione smiled and Ginny returned that smile. Ron thought it felt good to see the two most important women in his life getting on so well.
Ginny may say that Ron knew nothing about the opposite sex but he could tell something that both Harry and Ginny could not. Harry and Ginny were obviously made for each other, lived for each other's company, and whether Ron liked it or not, the pair was falling in love.